A Last Journey

" Father, you seem to have been sleeping fair?"
The child uncovered the dimity-curtained window-square
And looked out at the dawn,
And back at the dying man nigh gone,
And propped up in his chair,
Whose breathing a robin's " chink" took up in antiphon.
The open fireplace spread
Like a vast weary yawn above his head,
Its thin blue blower waved against his whitening crown,
For he could not lie down:
He raised him on his arms so emaciated: —

" Yes; I've slept long, my child. But as for rest,
Well, that I cannot say,
The whole night have I footed field and turnpike-way —
A regular pilgrimage — as at my best
And very briskest day!

" 'Twas first to Weatherb'ry, to see them there,
And thence to King's-Stag, where
I joined in a jolly trip to Weydon-Priors Fair:
I shot for nuts, bought gingerbreads, cream-cheese;
And, not content with these,
I went to London: heard the watchmen cry the hours.

" I soon was off again and found me in the bowers
Of father's apple-trees,
And he shook the apples down: they fell in showers,
Whereon he turned, smiled strange at me, as ill at ease;
And then you pulled the curtain; and, ah me,
I found me back where I wished not to be!"

'Twas told the child next day: " Your father's dead."
And, struck, she questioned, " O,
That journey, then, did father really go? —
Buy nuts, and cakes, and travel at night till dawn was red,
And tire himself with journeying, as he said,
To see those old friends that he cared for so?"
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